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Renowned Historian Examines Agatha Christie's Life At The Emirates Literature Festival In Dubai

British historian and broadcaster Lucy Worsley and Icelandic thriller author Ragnar Jonasson discussed all things Agatha Christie (1890-1976), the legendary British detective writer, in a sold-out, hour-long lecture at the Emirates Literature Festival. The best-selling "Queen of Crime" has been a working author for more than fifty years and has had a spectacular life and career filled with ups and downs.

She self-taught reading at age 5, wrote 66 detective books, surfed in Hawaii, and persevered through an acrimonious divorce. In her eighties, the queen knighted her after she sold more than two billion books. It may be said that Christie was a warrior, and her go-to weapon was the pen.

Worsley has a new biography of the author, and Jonasson has translated more than a dozen of Christie's books into Icelandic. To the listening assembly in Dubai, Worsley said: “Somebody like Agatha Christie can sometimes be put into this box that’s marked with the words ‘difficult women.’ You aren’t immediately likable, aren’t immediately knowable, aren’t all sweet and light.

“It strikes me that very often when a woman is put into that category in people’s minds it’s because she is breaking the rules as they are perceived for women at the time.”

Christie's family archive was accessible to Worsley, who wrote her book during the pandemic and did research in her Georgian summer house in Devon, England. Often referred to as the "golden age of crime fiction," Christie started taking her work seriously in the 1920s. Worsley thinks that Christie's journey began during the First World War, when she served as a nurse. Between the 1920s and 1940, when Christie was at her best, she consistently seemed to exceed other contemporary mystery writers.

The discussion also covered Christie's personal struggles, such as her notorious 1926 disappearance in which she spent 11 days hiding from the public as a result of her first husband's adultery. Christie's works were not as popular as they had been in the earlier years of her career because she was experiencing the first signs of dementia. However, her daring journeys to the Middle East produced timeless masterpieces like "Death on the Nile" and "Murder on the Orient Express," among other works. Furthermore, she first met archaeologist Max Mallowan, her second husband of more than 40 years, in Iraq.

Given the ongoing creation of movies and television series based on Christie's books, interest in her writings is still quite high. These not only draw in devoted followers but—and this is arguably most crucial—they also make her work known to future generations.

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